The Key Peninsula, like the rest of the world, is beset by turbulent times. COVID-19, financial upheaval and social reorganization are changing every aspect of our lives.
In many of my conversations I hear anxiety, anger and uncertainty. Our news and social media are filled with competing voices about how to move forward. Trying to make sense of it all is exhausting.
I was recently in a conversation with pastors and chaplains, and one man offered a helpful word. He said that while there is a lot we don’t know, there is much we do know, and focusing our time and energy there helps us stay grounded. To that end I’ve been compiling a list of what I know to be true.
I know a seed planted in the ground becomes a plant, providing food for my family and the world. We may face food shortages, but I can plant a garden or a fruit tree, and so begin to meet real needs.
I know people are hurting and in need of a little mercy. Businesses are closing and people are losing jobs. Many are experiencing grief and pain. A kind word, gesture or smile can go a long way in diffusing the anxiety many are feeling.
I know the KP has resourceful groups and agencies working to support our vulnerable populations. We have organizations offering food, financial and emotional support, medical care, legal aid, deliveries, and a friendly face to people facing the worst of this crisis.
I know that it is easy to spread this virus unknowingly and wearing a mask, along with social distancing, is a way of loving my neighbor. Many point to the American ideal of freedom to do as we please, but as a Christian I know that I am bound by a higher ideal of sacrificing rights for the good of my neighbor.
I know there are bad agents spreading misinformation and care is needed in discerning reliable sources. Propaganda still works, and we need to learn to separate facts from conspiracy theories.
I know that the virus is unmasking the brokenness of our economic system. People can’t afford medical care, rent or groceries after just a few weeks without work, revealing a system that is inequitable and unjust. Putting our lives back together must include addressing the inequalities in society.
While coronavirus claims the news cycles, I know other issues haven’t disappeared. Racism, addiction, abuse, poverty, loneliness, cancer and other sicknesses still exist. It is important to continue to work toward healing and support for all who suffer, no matter the cause.
I know I owe a debt of gratitude to health care workers, educators, grocery store clerks and all who put their health on the line for my sake.
I know that our world has endured difficult times before, and when people came together, dug deep, and worked hard, they emerged stronger and made the world better. I walk in hope that this will not be what destroys us but will, instead, be our finest hour.
Award-winning columnist Dan Whitmarsh is pastor at Lakebay Community Church.